Changes in Eta Carinae

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Video imagery:
·       Hubble Space Telescope image of Eta Carinae: NASA, ESA
·       Eta Carinae X-ray time-lapse: NASA/SAO/GSFC/M. Corcoran et al
·       Composite image of Eta Carinae - X-ray: NASA/SAO/GSFC/M. Corcoran et al; HST: NASA/ESA/STScI

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(DESCRIPTION) 
A grid of photographs of celestial bodies moves up. A white line moves down and another across. Text, News from the universe. The text is above an image of Jupiter. 
 
(SPEECH) 
[COSMIC MUSIC] 
 
(DESCRIPTION) 
Text, October 6, 2023. changes in Eta Carinae. 
 
A two-lobed explosive formation, one red and one white. 
 
Text, The "Great Eruption" from the star system Eta Carinae was seen on Earth from 1837 to 1858. 
 
A cloud of orange gas is around the formation. 
 
(SPEECH) 
 
(DESCRIPTION) 
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has tracked the aftermath for years, creating a time-lapse that shows how the eruption's resulting outflow is changing over time. The date in the corner changes from 1999 to 2003 to 2009 to 2014 to 2020, and repeats three times. 
 
Text, The time-lapse shows that a bright ring of X-rays (orange) has expanded rapidly, and reveals a fainter shell of X-rays beyond the ring. 
 
Over time, a white light in the center surrounded by a blue halo with yellow-orange formations of gas around it change and the center becomes purple and elongated. 
 
Text, Astronomers think the faint outer X-ray shell is the Great Eruption's blast wave, which impacted and superheated clumps of gas Eta Carinae had previously ejected. An arrow points to the x-ray shell, an outer jagged ring of brown around the orange mass. Image: Hubble and Chandra Composite. 
 
The purple in the center with white in the middle appears as two lobes. 
 
Text, Combined observations by Chandra and other telescopes point to the Great Eruption consisting of two explosions. 
 
First, a quick ejection of low-density gas produced the blast wave. 
 
Then a slower ejection of dense gas formed the distinctive two-lobed nebula we see today. 
 
This news was brought to you in part by the Chandra X-Ray Center in Cambridge, MA.